Why Europe Must End Its 30-Year Digital Winter to Ensure Its Long-Run Future

Bankman-Fried Says He’s ‘Haunted’ by FTX Collapse


“I never thought that what I was doing was illegal.”

So said Sam Bankman-Fried, giving his first jailhouse interview to ABC in a report published Monday (April 1), days after the FTX founder was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the fraud that led to the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.

Speaking to the network via email from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, Bankman-Fried said is remorseful for his actions and that FTX’s downfall stemmed from a series of “bad decisions” he made in 2022.

“I never thought that what I was doing was illegal. But I tried to hold myself to a high standard, and I certainly didn’t meet that standard,” he said.

Regardless of what Bankman-Fried thought, the federal prosecutors argued — and a jury agreed — that he masterminded the fraud at FTX, using customer funds for such things as risky investments, political donations, and real estate purchases.

He was convicted last year, while the people now running FTX continue to try to repay customers, having ruled out any possibility of resurrecting the exchange.

During last week’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Bankman-Fried committed perjury on the stand and that the one-time crypto wunderkind’s remarks never indicated “a word of remorse.”

“When not lying, he was evasive, hair-splitting, trying to get the prosecutors to rephrase questions for him. I’ve been doing this job for close to 30 years. I’ve never seen a performance like that,” Kaplan said.

Bankman-Fried told ABC that “of course” he is remorseful, and argued that FTX’s customers deserve to be repaid at the full value of their shares at current prices. The company’s post-bankruptcy plans involve repaying those customers at November 2022 crypto prices, set before the current bull market.

“I’m haunted, every day, by what was lost. I never intended to hurt anyone or take anyone’s money,” Bankman-Fried said.

“But I was the CEO of FTX, I was responsible for what happened to the company, and when you’re responsible it doesn’t matter why it goes bad. I’d give anything to be able to help repair even part of the damage. I’m doing what I can from prison, but it’s deeply frustrating not to be able to do more.”

During his testimony before sentencing last week, Bankman-Fried told the court: “My useful life is probably over. It’s been over for a while now.”